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Student gets to grips with sign language.

Byline: Hazel Ettienne ,

Challenges Andrew Jubb with the equipment he has set up as part of his degree course

Idea puts movements on screen

AN innovative project is using computer game technology to transfer sign language symbols on to screen.

Huddersfield University student Andrew Jubb has developed the pioneering idea as part of his three-year degree in computer games programming.

Students on the course have attracted much attention and it will have its first graduates this summer.

But 20-year-old Andrew's work is particularly unusual.

Andrew, from Barnsley, is using an electronic glove and video data-capture to transfer sign-language hand movements to computer screen.

The aim is to translate British Sign Language (BSL) into a medium that non-sign language users can understand.

There are thousands of sign language symbols in BSL - many of them with regional variations just as in spoken language.

Andrew is concentrating on the alphabetical symbols rather than on words and phrases.

By matching hand movements with a database of BSL alphabet symbols, Andrew's program will allow viewers to compare sign-language movements with written text.

Course tutor Damien DeLuca said: "This really is an exciting and ambitious task that Andrew has set himself.

"The technology he is using has existed for some time, but there are technical challenges to overcome such as the ability to indicate three-dimensional depth, such as when the fingers of one hand are laid over the palm or fingers of another to form sign-language symbols.

"Many computer games these days are moving beyond the traditional keyboard, mouse or games console towards image or data-capture through the use of cameras to detect gestures or basic body movements.

"If Andrew perseveres with this we could envisage applications not just in computer-based entertainment but in education and training.

"It's a fascinating project and shows that the techniques and technology we are using can go beyond role-play games and graphics."

Other games are also under development by the 13-strong final year games programming group.
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Title Annotation:Education
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 26, 2006
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